~ Jagad Guru Chris Butler (Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa)

— Chapter Ten —

Instructing the Glories of the Holy Name to the Faithless

All glories to Lord Sri Gauranga, the life of Sri Gadadhara Pandit; all glories to Lord Nityananda, the heart of Srimati Jahnavadevi; all glories to Sri Advaita Acarya, the Lord of Mother Sita; all glories to Srila Srivas Pandit, and to all the devotees of Lord Caitanya.

Sraddha is essential for chanting the name

WITH HIS HANDS FOLDED and in a soft voice, Srila Haridasa Thakura said, "Now please hear about another namaparadha. The first essential requirement for chanting Krsna's holy name is sraddha or firm faith. One who is bereft of it cannot hear the name and is therefore unfit to chant.

High birth, respectable family, knowledge, strength, learning or wealth are not qualities that make a person eligible to chant the name. The scriptures extol sraddha to be the one indispensable ingredient for proper chanting. Lord Krsna's name is the jiva's most valuable treasure. Sraddha means to have complete conviction that chanting Lord Krsna's name will automatically fulfill all duties and complete all pious activities. Those who do not possess such faith are unfit to chant.

Instructing the faithless about the holy name.

"According to Vaisnava etiquette, a person who does not have sraddha for the name should not be initiated into chanting. If a faithless person is initiated into chanting or is instructed about the glories of the holy name, he will only defile and disrespect the name. This is the statement of the scripture. The swine will crush the pearls strewn before it and the monkey will tear the cloth it is given. A faithless person will similarly commit increasing offenses to the holy name and thus invite his doom. Simultaneously, the initiating guru will be dragged down by his share in these offenses; very soon, he will leave the path of devotional service.

What to do if a faithless person wants initiation

"A faithless, person may slyly come to the Vaisnava to beg initiation into chanting. The sadhu should see through this ruse and refuse him Initiation. The charlatan devotee presumes, 'The holy name of Krsna is the all-purifying agent; once I've received the name I won't have to worry about committing sins. Besides, by chanting all the time, people will respect and worship me as a Vaisnava—then I can extract a goodly amount of service from them. The prestige I've lost by my sinful deeds will be regained fully by chanting. Another loss will never occur again, and I shall enjoy immense material benefit, etc. The sadhu should demand of the pretender full repentance of his dishonesty. To become worthy of initiation, he must at once denounce his desires for distinction and adoration, and should instead try to develop sraddha, for the holy name.

"Only when sraddha for the holy name is present can one be initiated into chanting. The holy name then takes the chanter across the ocean of material nescience. But as long as one has not developed sufficient faith in the holy name, he is unfit to chant. One should hear the glories of the holy name from a saintly Vaisnava; becoming humble by hearing his instructions, he must cast aside material desires and begin to chant. When the Vaisnava spiritual master perceives the proper degree of sraddha in the candidate, he initiates him into the greatest spiritual treasure —Krsna's holy name. But to initiate a faithless person is an abominable offense. The guru goes to hell if he gives initiation to a faithless person for material benefit.

"If the guru knows that the person who has approached him for initiation is an insincere, faithless pretender, yet he heedlessly initiates him simply for material gain, he commits a heinous offense against the holy name. If the guru was unable to make a correct assessment, and thinking the disciple to be sincere and faithful gave him initiation, only to later discover that he is a pretender, he,must make immediate redress for his mistake.